117 An aspect of the Second Sophistic that Augustine did not want to merge with

117 an aspect of the second sophistic that augustine

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(p.117). An aspect of the Second Sophistic that Augustine did not want to merge with the Christian church was its lack of attention to the “substance” (p.117) behind rhetoric. This dilemma led Augustine to incorporate some of Plato’s rhetorical beliefs. Augustine believed that how the teachings were said were at least as important as what the teachings said, therefore he pursued a “true art of rhetoric” that focused not just on the delivery but the “truth of the Christian scriptures” (p.118). In his teachings Augustine asked first that a Christian teacher seek to truly know and understand Christian scriptures and then that they teach. Augustine felt that rhetoric itself could help a Christian teacher accomplish these tasks as well as aid them in the defense of the “scriptural truth” (p.118) when necessary. Because the argument that “A rhetoric of God is both impossible and unavoidable” (p.118) Augustine was forced to, in a sense, reinforce his rhetorical model. Augustine’s rhetorical theory addresses the need and desire to understand God and explains that to do so ones mind must first be prepared “for divine thoughts” (p.118) through a rhetorical process. Christian teachers became the facilitators of this process; it was their teachings that were set to cleanse the mind through appropriate delivery and the use of true rhetoric founded by true knowledge of the scriptures. Because Augustine’s rhetorical cleansing process required the use of true knowledge and the true art of rhetoric his theory relies heavily on Plato’s teachings, however the theory also required accurate and delivery and preaching which allowed Augustine to combine both the Sophistic use of rhetoric and Plato’s rhetorical beliefs into a useful rhetorical model for the Christian church.
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2 Provide an overview of the role of rhetoric in building and maintaining societies. Discuss the views of at least three different theorists, writing in at least two different historical periods. Issues to be considered in answering this question might include rhetoric's relationship to refining and propagating social values, conceptions of justice, and the garnering of compromises. But, there are other issues that might be considered as well. In medieval Europe their lives revolved around the Church; education, politics, dialogue, art and society were all reliant on rhetorical education from the Church. Because the Church was so central to life in medieval Europe it’s the Church’s hierarchal structure that set the stage for societal hierarchy. In the Middle Ages rhetoric and medieval education were taught with an authoritarian approach called Scholasticism. This method of teaching focused on structured debate based on principles drawn from both Aristotle and Plato’s writings, and encouraged merging “Christian teaching with the thought of ancient philosophers” (p.122). The lack of “complete ancient works” (p.122) proved to be a challenge for Scholasticism because debate
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  • Fall '13
  • Dr.Bollinger
  • Rhetoric

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